Posted on: August 10, 2023, 04:25h.
Last updated on: August 10, 2023, 04:26h.
Former NFL Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III pleaded for forgiveness this week prior to his sentencing for involvement in a fatal crash in Las Vegas.
As part of a plea deal, Ruggs will be spending a minimum of three years, and potentially up to 10 years, in prison.
Ruggs’s sentence was approved by Judge Jennifer Schwartz on Wednesday at the Las Vegas Regional Justice Center following a 20-minute hearing. She referred to it as a “traumatic, tragic case.”
Moments before the collision, Ruggs was driving his Chevrolet Corvette at speeds reaching up to 156 mph before crashing into another vehicle driven by Tina Tintor.
Tintor, 23, was driving a Toyota RAV4, and both she and her dog, Max, lost their lives in the fiery crash on a Las Vegas street that occurred on November 2, 2021.
According to prosecutors, Ruggs had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 after the accident, twice the legal limit in Nevada.
Ruggs had been socializing at TopGolf in Las Vegas just hours before the crash.
During the hearing, Ruggs offered his apologies to Tintor’s family, the Raiders, and his own relatives.
“I have no excuse,” Ruggs stated regarding the crash. He added that the incident did not accurately represent who he truly is.
“To the parents and family of Ms. Tintor, I sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering my actions on the morning of November 2, 2021, have caused you, your family, and those who knew Ms. Tina and Max,” Ruggs addressed the courtroom.
“I let my family, my teammates, and those who believed in me down with my actions, causing so much hurt,” he continued.
Ruggs’s attorney, David Chesnoff, described him in court as a “kind, shy, extremely bright, and thoughtful young man.”
A statement from the victim’s mother was also read before the sentencing.
The statement mentioned that Tintor was “taken away due to someone else’s negligence” and that this tragedy could have been prevented.
“Her beauty has been stripped from the world,” the statement added. “Our Tina was special to us because she was unlike any other. Her perspective on the world made everyone around her better.”
As part of the plea deal, Ruggs pleaded guilty to DUI resulting in death and vehicular manslaughter.
The sentences for both charges will be served concurrently.
Other charges originally filed against Ruggs, including reckless driving, driving under the influence, causing substantial injury, and a gun charge, were dropped.
A loaded firearm was discovered in the Corvette following the accident.
If convicted on the dropped charges, Ruggs could have faced up to 50 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
Once he completes his three-year sentence, Ruggs is expected to be eligible for parole based on Wednesday’s ruling.
Questions from O. J. Simpson
Later on Wednesday, former NFL star and celebrity O. J. Simpson expressed doubts about the sentence.
“You’re driving a car at approximately 160 miles per hour on a public street, and you end up killing a girl and her dog, and you get three to ten years?” Simpson posted on social media.
Simpson referenced his own prison sentence, which ranged from nine to 33 years.
“Same courthouse, same city, same state. I don’t know. Somehow it just doesn’t add up to me,” Simpson added. “The math just doesn’t add up.”
Simpson was referring to his conviction for the attempted armed robbery of sports memorabilia from a room at the Palace Station Casino in September 2007.
He was also acquitted of the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman following a highly publicized trial.
Following the crash, Ruggs was released by the Raiders. He had signed a four-year NFL contract worth over $16M.
As a first-round draft pick, Ruggs led the Raiders in receiving yards in 2021.
The former Alabama standout recorded 24 receptions, 469 receiving yards, and two touchdowns in seven games.